San Francisco based artist Gregory Ito produces work that is both thought provoking and highly conceptual. His latest show entitled “Point of Vision” (which premiered at Gallery Hijinks in early August) highlights the artist’s drive to create more than just pretty pieces of art. The show delves into concepts of time, how we perceive it, and intrinsically touches upon what it’s like to be human.
We recently sat down with Ito to discuss his work, his aesthetic, and where it is headed.
1). Can you tell us more about your current body of work entitled “Point of Vision”?
The current show “Point of Vision” presents a collection of my recent work that combines the variety of mediums of paintings, photography, sculpture, and installation. It’s an accumulation of different pieces that I’ve been working on for a couple years now. I’m primarily recognized for the images that I paint referencing celestial relationships between the Sun, Moon, and Earth expressed through geometric abstraction, symmetrical compositions, and vivid color palettes. The collection of work is particularly special because it’s the first time I’m showing work beyond my painting practice. “Point of Vision” explores the role of object and image, creating small installations that require both elements. Through using multiple mediums I investigate the concept of time and our humanly connection with the outside world that we’re all components of. I hope for people to leave the show with a new understanding of the continuous cycles present within our lives, and the eternal transitions between day, night, dawn, and dusk.
2). In your work, time plays a central focus How does time affect the work you produce, and your personal growth as an artist?
Time is a element within our lives that we are all constantly battling to come to terms with. Time is known for it’s relentless push forward into the future bringing us ever so closer to old age, and due to the misuse of time many of us are kept from experiencing moments that we hope to be a part of. But our humanly understanding of time has shifted throughout our species existence. Our time on Earth was spent looking at the night skies to understand our surroundings and the cycle of seasons which was a necessity for survival against the hard elements of nature. But through the progression of many civilizations calendars were created, which soon merged and became the annual calendar grid we are all conditioned to accept. Time is no longer mysterious and we all have knowledge of the components of the week, month, and year. All we have to do is fill the empty boxes with things we have to do and work amongst other people who share this same understanding of the modern day calendar. “Point of Vision” is trying to deconstruct this idea of time, and present the concept of time is new ways to reveal our true reasons for experiencing the world we are all a part of. I think about this constantly within my studio, how I am working within the calendar grid to break the segmented interpretation of time that we abide to. It is my unique relationship with time that generates my obsessive relationship with the world and my connection with the components that construct our existence.
3). What influences your work and aesthetic (other artists, places, concepts)? What excites and drives you to produce art?
A majority of my work is inspired by the various science text books I’ve collected over time. I have a love for scientific diagrams that explain the inner working of the outside world. When I was young I enjoyed science fairs, creating displays that would share information with other people. In many ways the small installations in “Point of Vision” reference the structure that a science fair display would have, but without text to explain whats being presented. This is one of the major reasons why I enjoy natural history museums, because they share information that everyone can understand and relate to. In many ways art museums are very inaccessible to people because a lot of artwork present abstract ideas that a smaller percentage of people can absorb and enjoy. Some of the artists I enjoy are Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Durer, Robert Irwin, Kandinsky, and Rothko. I also frequently look at Freemason and alchemist etchings , spiritual imagery from all cultures, and contemporary works by various young artists coming out of Berlin, Copenhagen, New York, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area that I see though my travels on the Internet. A recurring theme in my work is the moment of twilight. It is the one moment of everyday that I cherish and revere. I enjoy the affect it has on me, looking into the sky, watching the gradients of color that pass over beyond the horizon line, while the Sun falls gracefully to the other side of the world. It is the moment that I feel most connected with “time” and the eternal cycles we are exposed to throughout our lives. it is this moment of everyday that fuel my practice of an artist.
4). You are also one of the owners of Ever Gold Gallery (along with Andrew McClintock), what’s it like being on the business side of the art trade?
We co-founded the Ever Gold Gallery in January of 2009. It has been an amazing experience building Ever Gold from the ground up. Ever Gold is now a destination and vital component to the artistic community of San Francisco, bringing progressive emerging artists to attention through our unique programming. Working on the business side of the art world is something you cant avoid when trying to support your life through art. We all need to make ends meet, and to do that through your artistic endeavors, it takes an unprecedented amount of hard work. I had to learn this as go while working on Ever Gold, the San Francisco Arts Quarterly, which Andrew and I also founded, and my own individual artistic practice. And on top of these three endeavors I also need to work on the side as a part time art handler and craftsman to pay the bills. I like the business side of the art world, but many people are jaded saying that money and institutions ruin the special qualities that art making contains. But business is business and we cant escape it. If you cant beat them, join them, and then beat them at their own game.
5). What’s on the horizon for Gregory Ito (any exciting projects, stuff with Evergold)?
Aside the solo show at Gallery Hijinks, I have been curated into “Bay Area Currents” at Pro Arts non profit in Oakland by Julio Cesar Morales which will be up till the end of September. I am also working on a mural right now in San Francisco mayor Ed Lee’s campaign headquarters in the Warfield Building on 6th and Market. Early this month we released the current issue of SFAQ (San Francisco Arts Quarterly). There is a lot of great content in this issue, I highly recommend people to pick up a copy and check out the editorial section. SFAQ is going to be media sponsors for numerous fairs in LA, NYC, and Miami this year, as well as a number of events taking place in the Bay Area. SFAQ is also undergoing an expansion that will cover the West Coast and surpass the borders of the greater Bay Area. Ever Gold Gallery is undergoing our second artist in residency with Owen Takabayashi, Japanese American and SF based artist. The residency is during August, followed by his solo show in September. Check out www.evergoldgallery.com for more information.
– Photos and Story by Michael Cuffe for Warholian
For more on “Point of Vision” at Gallery Hijinks visit: http://www.galleryhijinks.com/shows/point-of-vision
For more on the work of Gregory Ito, visit his official site here: http://www.gregoryito.com/